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Started by Patricia Apr 11.
Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Joan Denoo Mar 26.
Started by Visvakarman Svetasvatara-Upanish. Last reply by Gerald Payne Mar 19.
Amazing stuff, no matter how you look at it.
Sending a probe to Mercury was the most challenging mission they've ever tried. The gravitational well of the Sun is so strong that the inner Planets, although the closest, are the most difficult to reach. It was estimated that a direct spaceflight to Mercury would need to burn so much fuel to check it's momentum there'd be no room for the scientific instruments!
When we consider that they have only a 50 mile 'window' to hit to get the sling right after millions of miles of travel, with everything moving under the influence of gravity, it's no small feat.
I'm often amazed at what scientists have accomplished.
I think it took something like 8 years to get there Idaho, using planetary slingshot manoeuvers, first out to Jupiter and then slinging back to Earth to Venus back to Earth and so on to slow the spacecraft down before it fell into the gravitational well of the Sun.
Messenger slammed into Mercury at 3:27 PM ET. It was on the other side from us, so we got no pictures of it. Other telescopes in space could not get pictures because they would have been looking into the sun.
But it was a sucess. Like several other missions, it exceeded it goal. It's original goal was to take 2,500 images of the planet, but it has returned more than 270,000 to earth.
So many interesting things to pay attention to, thanks!
Today Mercury will have a new crater, the messenger probe will collide with the surface creating a crater 16 metres wide. John Lennon has had a mercurial crater named after him.
I think I will have to work out a way as you say with a longer length tripod and an observing chair. As you say at different altitudes your bound to get varying degrees of comfort no matter where the eyepiece is situated.
Regardless of the type of telescope you have, they are sometimes going to be in positions where the eyepiece is in an awkward position. I personally use a 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain on a fork mount and when looking directly overhead, the eyepiece is low although it's not as bad as a refractor scope would be. The short tube length of the SC helps keep the eyepiece within a relatively small area (The tube length is only around 15" long, but it has a focal length of 2500mm. However, by carefully adjusting the tripods leg length and using an observing chair, I usually don't have any problems. I also have an 8" Newtonian which is better than a refractor as far as eyepiece comfort is concerned. But since the eyepiece is at the front end of the scope instead of the back, there have been times I've had to use a step stool to reach the eyepiece and I'm 6' 2" tall. I've used about every telescope style and mount and for observation, I prefer the SC for mount to anything else.
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